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An Analysis of the Relationship between Victimization and Violent Behavior at School

  • Estefanía Estévez (a1), Teresa I. Jiménez (a2), David Moreno (a3) and Gonzalo Musitu (a3)

Previous studies have identified two subgroups of school violence victims: submissive and aggressive. Submissive victims are characterized by their withdrawal in violent situations, while aggressive victims combine hostile behavior with victimization. This study focuses on the second subgroup and aims to analyze possible factors influencing the transition from passive victimization to involvement in aggressive behaviors within the school context. To test these relationships, 1319 adolescents between 12 and 16 years of age were recruited from seven secondary schools in various Spanish provinces. Structural equation modeling techniques were used to analyze the data. Results supported Emler’s theory, which posits that the victim’s helplessness in situations of intimidation, along with disappointment resulting from a lack of expected protection from adult authority figures, may result in adolescents searching and developing an antisocial and non-conformist reputation that helps them defend themselves against future attacks. Practical implications of these results are further discussed.

Corresponding author
*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Estefanía Estévez López. Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche, Department of Health Psychology, C/ Universidad, s / n. Edificio Altamira. CP 03202 Elche–Alicante (Spain). Phone: +34-966658 345. Fax: +34-966658904. E-mail:
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This study was conducted as part of research project PSI2008-01535/PSIC: “School violence, victimization and social reputation in adolescence,” sponsored by the Spanish Ministerio de Educación.
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The Spanish Journal of Psychology
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